Cinema is the conscience keeper of Indian society, but this is true till the copyright of such movies based on social issues particularly lies with Akshay Kumar. The day when some other actor tries to penetrate the well-designed ecosystem with something out the box, it will fall flat on its face. And the same has happened with Nushrratt Bharuccha’s recent release Janhit mein Jaari.
The message behind Bharuccha’s Janhit Mein Jaari
“Mardon ke liye shayad ye sirf ek zaroorat hai, par hum auraton ke liye ye zaroori hai,” Janhit Mein Jarri aims to popularise this with the film. Nushrratt Bharuccha’s recent release Janhit mein Jaari has a spectacular message, the message about safe sexual intercourse. Nushrratt’s character Manokamna Tripathi, in the movie is Bollywood’s typical strong-headed girl stuck in a small town who wears her beliefs on her sleeves.
The film with Bharuccha as the protagonist sheds light on the importance of contraceptives, a topic that till today is associated with stigma. The movie aims to craft a narrative and give new insights onto a least discussed issue that is the use of contraceptives.
Manokamna Tripathi, is shown working in a condom factory, a job riddled with stigma and dominated by men. She faces several barriers due to the same. Still, the protagonist battles the societal taboos around contraception and their usage while giving birth to a new narrative all together. It has been asserted in the movie that contraceptive methods like condoms should be used as protection rather than an accessory for pleasure. The film also touches a sensitive issue like illegal abortions, and sheds light on how they are preventable through use of contraceptives.
The need of Janhit Mein Jaari
The movie appears preachy, and I am not the right person for putting forth a review. Rather, I want to put forwards some statistics, according to United Nations Population Fund’s, World Population Report 2022, 67 per cent of abortions in India are unsafe. It further adds that eight women die each day due to unsafe abortions, the third leading cause of maternal mortality in the country.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) report, one in every four abortions in India was performed by the woman herself at home. The main reason cited for seeking abortion by women in the report was unplanned pregnancy, followed by her health did not permit continuing her pregnancy.
India is a country that has legalised abortions way before than the developed West in 1971, yet unsafe abortions are still a prevalent practice, that is a significant yet preventable cause of maternal death.
Any layman has the understanding that the aforementioned abortions could have been prevented by use of contraceptives and this is what the movies tries to preach. However, despite having such a strong message the analysis of Box-Office gurus predicts that it is going to fail miserably at the box-office.
Mandatory entity of social messaging films- Akshay Kumar
There can be innumerable reasons behind failure of any movie, from bad writing to pathetic direction to bad casting. But in this case, a reason that is being pointed out is less number of screens.
Any good budget movie in India is released across 1500+ screens. While some big stars release their films across 2500+ screens worldwide and 2000 screens in India. While Bharuccha’s Janhit Mein Jarri hot a measly 542 screens across the country. The screen count for Janhit Mein Jaari was substantially low. Despite low screen count and heavily reduced ticket prices, Janhit Mein Jaari managed to draw Rs. 2.19 crore over its first weekend. The film will now have to wait for its OTT release to catch some eyeballs.
Why is it so? Is the Indian audience not ready for social messaging movies. If it would have been the case, then films like Padman and Toilet-Ek Prem Katha would not have been a blockbuster. Often in these movies when the problems of the female community is addressed there arrives a knight in shinning armour to protect the ‘female heroine’ from all the societal taboos and stigmas. And the knight in shinning armour is Akshay Kumar, who seems to own the copyright of such social messaging movies.
The Bollywood also banks on the face of Akshay Kumar for the success of films containing social messaging, as if he owns the copyright of the same.
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